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Israel

BEST BANK
Bank Hapoalim

BEST EQUITY HOUSE
Lehman Brothers

BEST M&A HOUSE
Merrill Lynch

The competition between Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim is intense every year – and this one has been no exception. The best bank award for 2005 goes to Bank Hapoalim, which has maintained a lead in all key areas, including return on equity, return on average assets and higher net income.

The bank, which has more than 300 branches, 50 private banking units and an international network that includes operations in North America, Latin America and Europe, has performed consistently well across all its divisions.

The best equity house award has been won by Lehman Brothers, which has lived up to its reputation for excellence in Israel during the past 12 months. It is ranked first in Israel-related equity transactions, having been extremely active in the primary and secondary equity and equity-related markets for Israeli companies. Lehman was the bookrunner and lead manager for five deals, worth more than $600 million.

These included the $161 million IPO for IT company Ness Technologies, the $125 million convertible for data transfer firm Audio Codes and the $108 million IPO for Ormat Technologies, which is involved in the geothermal and recovered energy power business.

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